Iceland is trending hard, and that's for good reason. The tiny country is an example of nature at its finest. Its capital city boasts half of the entire nation's population, but it doesn't feel like a metropolis. Reykjavic's citizens are warm (even when it's freezing), its restaurants offer world cuisine as well as local delicacies like fermented shark, and the museums range from silly to stunning.
Folks have called The Blue Lagoon a tourist trap, but lemme tell you that it's a heaven-sent oasis after a trans-Atlantic flight. Y'all know I flew coach, so I felt less than rested and WAY less than clean. I made the mistake of taking a sleeping pill for a five hour flight and arrived loopy and exhausted. Once we got our rental car, it was straight to the Lagoon. It's located conveniently between the airport and Reykjavic's city center, so it's the perfect place to stop before you check into your hotel or AirBNB. The staff are friendly and were able to check us in quickly. With robes and sandals in tow, we split off to our separate changing rooms. The rooms are clean and well-appointed with helpful staff. Folks are encouraged to stay off their phones in order to keep everything moving smoothly. After a quick shower (required), we waded into the warm, milky water. It was instant relief from our day of travel. We tried out two different face masks, chatted with other visitors, and sipped on a free cocktail (included with our ticket). I don't recommend having more than one drink because one could get a little too relaxed in the water or overheat in the sauna. Overall, we loved the experience and found it a peaceful way to wash off the air travel and perk up.
After checking into the hotel, The Radisson Blu 1919, we went exploring. One of our favorite ways to learn about a new city is to aimlessly walk with a few landmarks in mind. The first stop was the Opera House, which boasts a lovely geometric facade, perfect for photos.
Next was the shipyard, where we wandered among the huge dry-docked boats. At Saemunder, a gastropub, we ate langostines doused in lemon butter and enjoyed a cocktail. The drinks (some boasted 10 ingredients) were intimidating, but the servers weren't. It was cozy and just the heat and sustenance we needed.
Afterwards, we happened upon Shalimar, a Pakistani restaurant, for dinner. It was some of the best butter chicken I've ever had. I didn't know what to expect food-wise in Iceland, but found that, like most metropolitan areas, there's many styles of food to be had. Shalimar was bright, warm, and light reflected off the glinting, gold decor.
Next stop was Apotek, a pharmacy-themed gastropub. Drinks are categorized as stimulants, tranquilizers, or painkillers. I'm sure I asked if I could get a combo of all three. That sounds like me. We didn't have my juice left in us, so we retired to the hotel (meaning I begged to go back to the hotel) to watch The Beach on an iPad and sip some crowberry aquavit. We made it through 20 minutes of the movie before some coma-like sleep.